It Wasn’t Just Vacation…It Was An Adventure!
We were about three hours into a ten hour driving trip when the reality of what had occurred that day hit us. It all started when we left home at 7 a.m. to go west to DFW airport.
Mike drove us through blinding rain to make it to the airport. I was even ready to leave the house ten minutes early (I am writing this so that the next time Mike gets puffy because I am always late, there will be a written reminder of the one time I wasn’t!).
We made it to the airport, checked our luggage, breezed through the TSA pre-check line, and decide to relax over a healthy oatmeal breakfast before heading to our gate.
Then it happened. The worst news you can receive while on a trip…our flight has been cancelled. Mike quickly gets on the internet to learn what happened. Our flight was cancelled due to weather. He learns we had been rebooked on a 7:30 p.m. flight. I find that there are also flights at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., so he gets an American rep on the phone to get us rebooked. They tell us there are no seats on the earlier flights, but to check with a gate agent. While on hold for the phone rep, Mike gets a message that our 7:30 p.m. flight has been delayed until 9:30 p.m., getting us to our destination (Pensacola, Florida) at 11 p.m. (an hour after the rental car agency closes).
We jump in the line for a cancelled Brownsville flight (no more flights for two days!), only to learn that sure enough, there are no earlier flights. Options? Not many. Wait to see if the 9:30 p.m. flight actually goes (there goes a night at our vacation rental house; National Car Rental closes an hour before our flight arrives, will we have a car when we arrive?) or drive it (but what about our checked luggage?).
Mike travels a lot, so he pretty well knows the drill. We head to the baggage attendant to see if we can get our luggage back. Poor lady! People were not happy. A young couple in front of us are desperately trying to get their luggage so they can get a hotel room and clean up. They have been delayed in getting home by two days and their young children are frantic back at home. No luck on the luggage. It cannot be traced or accessed due to all the canceled flights. They don’t say anything but are clearly at their wits end.
The next lady in line was already a day late back to base for her leave from the Coast Guard. She needs her luggage so that she can drive back to base. Again, no luck. Her luggage will meet her in Brownsville, at some point. She is very respectful (and military like) to the agent. The agent gives her a care kit like you get in first class.
When our turn comes, we go ahead and ask about our luggage, knowing the answer. The agent is very friendly (I think because I am the first person to smile at her all day!). She has been told there is no way to track bags at present and to not even radio down to the baggage area. When she learns we are driving, she gives us each care kits. She assures us that our luggage will be on the next flight that has space for it, and we can have them delivered to us at our house in Orange Beach.
We thank the agent and leave. Seeing the young couple trying to get home to Alabama, we give them the care kits so they can at least brush their teeth.
We find seats by a luggage turnstile and talk through our options. By now, it is noon. We doubt the 9:30 p.m. flight will make it to Florida, so we opt to drive.
Here we go, half the day gone, and a ten hour driving trip in front of us.
What dawned on us three hours into the trip was the fact that we drove west two hours to put our luggage on a flight, then we had to back track, driving east ten hours to our destination…with nothing! We did not have anything other than an umbrella, an iPad, a GPS system, a shawl, a book and a magazine. We laughed until our sides hurt with the absurdity of the situation!
Our luggage had a wonderful flight. They arrived safely at the airport around 4:30 p.m. They probably hung out at the bar, had a martini or two and a nap, waiting for a ride to the vacation rental.
At 10:30 p.m., we rolled into the drive at the lovely Coastal Cottage (yes, we beat our rescheduled flight by thirty minutes!). We quickly unloaded the car (along the way, we had purchased toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, and face cleanser). Then it was time to go to the beach!
Mike received a message that our luggage would be delivered to us by 4:30 a.m. It actually arrived around 10 a.m. the next day (I wanted to hug the driver!). All was well. We had clean clothes and we were ready to hit the town.
We had a lovely vacation! My mom always said, “Bad start, good ending.” And, it was. We saw sights we wouldn’t have seen had we have flown. Plus, on the way back, we got to add an overnight stay at the Monmouth Historic Inn . We got to enjoy Miss Mary’s grits (creamy and flavorful), Roosevelt’s mint juleps (they taste like they have sweet tea in them), room service from the 1818 Restaurant, and a beautiful room at the Inn.
Our trip took us on three of the four main coast to coast interstates (10, 20 and 30). Of the three roadways, drivers on 20 are the craziest.
It all worked out for the best. We were even given a refund on our airline tickets. Most importantly, we had a wonderful, relaxing vacation!